The saga of Kyle Rittenhouse has largely faded over the last several months. Since being acquitted of two murder charges (among others) last November, the fairly quiet teenager has kept a lower profile than many predicted. He's appeared on some news programs and at a few conservative conferences, but Rittenhouse has seemed to go out of his way to not stray too far into the spotlight.
Of course, aside from the trial itself, which stemmed from him defending himself during the Black Lives Matter riot in Kenosha, WI, the next biggest drama involved all those who rushed to slander Rittenhouse for purely political reasons. Even after the acquittal took place, talking heads took to their shows, with the most common charge being that of white supremacy.
To this point, though, we haven't heard much about what the plan is to pursue those who maliciously went after Rittenhouse, someone likely not meeting the definition of a public figure (the media making someone a public figure does not make them legally a public figure), even after the facts were all out on the table. That changed on Monday evening with an appearance on Tucker Carlson. Names were named, and it became clear things are just getting started for Rittenhouse and his legal team.
TUCKER: "Will you be suing any news organizations?"— Greg Price (@greg_price11) February 22, 2022
KYLE RITTENHOUSE: "We're looking at quite a few, politicians, athletes, celebrities, Whoppi Goldberg is on the list, she called me a murderer after I was acquitted… So is Cenk [Uyhur] from the Young Turks." pic.twitter.com/MULZf38Vkf
The key part of the above clip is Rittenhouse saying “we are going to hold everyone who's lied about me accountable.” That puts on notice a slew of celebrities and news personalities that didn't just jump the gun when all the evidence wasn't in but continued to push a false narrative about Rittenhouse long after the events surrounding his acts of self-defense were made known. He names Whoopi Goldberg and Cenk Uygur specifically, and you can expect Joy Reid and several other cable news personalities to make the list as well.
How successful Rittenhouse will ultimately be in these legal battles isn't something I can reasonably speculate on. I'd like to think he's got the goods given how egregious some of the attacks were, but proving defamation in court is always difficult. Those that called him a murderer only before he was acquitted, for example, are probably going to find themselves in the clear. Yet, those that continued to call him that while also labeling him a white supremacist without evidence after the trial was completed may find themselves in big trouble.
Obviously, as someone who writes for a living, I cherish the fact that you can mostly say what you want to say without legal repercussions in America. In a society built on free speech, that kind of leeway is very important, even when mistakes are made. What some did to Rittenhouse went far beyond that, though. They didn't just make mistakes but appeared to maliciously lie about him, in some cases even after being corrected. We'll see whether that leads to some big payouts in the future.